Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Happy New Year

(Letter From January 2, 2014)

Hey! Sorry that I missed last week, but things got more than a little crazy with Christmas and Christmas Eve here in Sweden. We're all still doing great over here.

Christmas Eve here was amazing, and kind of a miracle truthfully. The Sunday before Christmas, I was able to play in Sacrament here again. It was just Away in a Manger from the hymnbook with a few ornaments, but it was amazing to get to play. Afterwards, people were talking to people, and it came up that we hadn't been invited to someone's house for Christmas Eve yet, and this sweet hispanic woman instantly said, 'That's not okay,' and bustled off to talk to somebody. She came back a few minutes later to say we were welcome to come to her house for Christmas Eve. This was great; Syster McCollaum and I were a little sad that this meant we wouldn't get to see Kalle Anka (Donald Duck), but we were ecstatic to have a place to go.

Later that night, however, another member called us to invite us for a real Swedish Julafton. We told her what had happened, and that maybe we could stop by before going to this other member's house. She called over to her, and arranged it so the elders would be at the first members house, and we would get to have a real Swedish Christmas.

And truthfully, it was amazing. The family has 3 little boys, and they're so sweet. We got to watch Kalle Anka with them, and have a julboard (Christmas Dinner), and then wait for Jultomton to come. And honestly, this family was amazing. Their little 3 year old was terrified of Jultomton (Santa Clause), but it was the sweetest thing to watch how excited he and his brothers were about their Christmas gifts; every gift meant someone got a hug, and they all three were beyond excited when they unwrapped the tiny little Kristus statues their parents had gotten them.  It's probably also worth mentioning that this amazing family made sure that Syster McCollaum and I had Christmas presents to open, and so we got several amazing gifts from this family.
And of course, Christmas Day was amazing. Thank you SO MUCH to the ward at home for they're package, I loved everything I got, and I may or may not have started crying as I was reading all of the notes from the Laurels. You guys are the best!

We also got to spend time with several more members, and skyping home of course was fantastic. We actually got to go to a baptism on Christmas day as well. It was different, but it was so cool to see someone showing their commitment to follow Christ on the day we celebrate Him.

New Years we got to spend with an amazing couple in the mission. The Tolley's are over all the apartments, and for New Year's eve, they had all of the Sisters in the greater Stockholm area to their house. We were the only ones to stay until about midnight, and then they drove us home. And truthfully, that was the coolest thing, because we left just in time for them to start fireworks all over Stockholm. There was no one else on the roads at that point, so it was safe to be out, but from every angle, all you could see was fireworks being launched from apartment roofs and street corners. I really think everyone else should be jealous, because we had the world's best firework show.

The biggest news this week is that I have another companion! Syster McCollaum and I have been joined by the lovely Syster Eriksson. She's a native Swede who's going to the Washington Spokane Mission, but she's starting here in H√§gersten while waiting for her visa. It was a little hard this morning; she had an appointment to get her visa, but we got there, and were informed that we didn't have everything necessary, so she wouldn't be able to have her appointment today. She was more than a little upset about it, but it means that we get to hang on to her for a little while longer, and work on our Swedish. It's interesting, because she hasn't even been to the MTC yet, but she's definitely excited to begin teaching, and has so much energy about teaching the gospel. 

So, yeah, there's the Holidays in Sweden. Life's great, and while having 4 non-proselyting days in the last two weeks has been nice, I'm excited to get back into regular missionary work, and find even more people who are prepared to accept the gospel. I hope everything's going well for everyone over there, and I love and miss you all tons!

Syster Maxwell

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